On The Block

Noble International Ltd. (Nasdaq: NOBL) has hired Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin Capital Inc. as financial adviser to assist with analysis of the auto parts supplier’s strategic alternatives. For the third quarter ended Sept. 30, the Troy, Mich.-based company swung to profit of $5.3 million from a loss of $3.5 million posted a year earlier. The latest period, however, includes a pretax litigation award of $16.3 million and the reversal of $1.7 million in accrued interest costs related to its roll-forming operations.

Quest PharmaTech Inc. (TSX-V: QPT) is reviewing its options including, the possible sale of the company or some capital assets, a merger and partnerships. The Edmonton, Alberta-based drug developer has hired Loewen Ondaatje McCutcheon Ltd. as an adviser. Quest PharmaTech’s third-quarter financial statement includes the following note: “The company’s ability to continue as a going concern is uncertain and is dependent upon its ability to raise additional capital to successfully complete its research and development programs, commercialize its technologies and conduct clinical trials and receive regulatory approvals for its products.”

Design Within Reach Inc. (Nasdaq: DWRI) is conducting a review of its strategic options, including an unsolicted offer recently received by the provider of furnishings and accessories. It’s hired San Francisco-based investment bank Thomas Weisel Partners LLC as an advisor. The company has also formed a committee of independent directors to work with the adviser to examine its alternatives, such as the possible sale of the company, a merger, partnerships or refinancing. For the third quarter ended Sept. 27, 2008, Design Within Reach, also headquartered in San Francisco, swung to a loss of $5.6 million from a profit of $2.4 million a year earlier as net sales dropped to $42.3 million from $49 million.

Microcontroller manufacturer Atmel Corp. (Nasdaq: ATML) is mulling the sale of its application-specific integrated circuit, or ASIC, business and related manufacturing assets. The San Jose, Calif.-based company is also looking at other alternatives as part of efforts to focus on its core microcontroller business and improve its cost structure. Morgan Stanley is advising Atmel on the review of options available for the ASIC business. For 2008, Atmel swung to a loss of $27.2 million from net income of $47.9 million a year earlier. The latest period includes a restructuring charge of $71.3 million and acquisition-related charges of $23.6 million.